Former Australian skipper Ian Chappell has questioned why David Warner can’t captain his country but Steve Smith can as questions are asked about Tim Paine’s future after a disastrous series loss to India.
An inability to bowl India out on day five in Sydney or Brisbane allowed the tourists to secure a stunning 2-1 win, and saw critics take aim at Paine’s tactical nous.
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The 36-year-old has no intention of giving up the captaincy and is intent on leading the side when it departs for a tour of South Africa next month.
However, Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar blasted Paine and said he should be replaced as captain, while English legend Kevin Pietersen also took aim, saying: “I believe that Cricket Australia will soon be looking for a new captain — Paine has never, ever been up to it.”
There are no obvious replacements for Paine and while vice-captain Pat Cummins is an option to take over, there are concerns about how the added burden of captaincy will affect his role as the team’s No. 1 bowler.
Smith is another candidate, but reinstating him after the cheating scandal in South Africa will create plenty of headlines.
Both he and Warner were suspended for 12 months for their roles in the ball tampering controversy. Smith, who was alleged not to have stepped in and prevented his teammates from cheating, was also banned from holding any leadership position in Australian cricket for a further year, but that ban expired in 2020.
Warner, on the other hand, is prohibited from ever holding a leadership position for the rest of his career, having been outed as the ringleader behind the plot to change the condition of the ball.
Chappell believes Smith, as captain back then, should be held accountable more-so than Warner and can’t understand why the former skipper can take charge again while the opening batsman can’t.
“Why aren’t Smith and Warner in the same category? If Smith only gets a 12-month ban on captaincy, why doesn’t Warner only get that?” Chappell told Wide World of Sports.
“Or if Warner gets a lifetime ban on captaincy, why doesn’t Smith? Because Smith’s crime in my eyes was greater than Warner’s.
“Yeah sure, he might get the captaincy again but I think it’s only going to be in the circumstances where there’s not much other choice.”
Chappell said if he wasn’t banned, he would choose Warner to replace Paine and is wary of how the captaincy would affect Cummins’ performance with the ball.
“I’ve got the greatest admiration for Pat, not just the way he bowls, but the way he plays the game,” Chappell said.
“But I’d be very wary of loading him up with any more responsibility. But where the hell else do you go?”